You Are Loved

Complimentary Story
   I have been spending nearly every evening until dark in a small ground blind ¼ mile from our house for several weeks. I have been able to observe some interesting things. One of them is the love of a mother for her children. In this case a doe deer for her fawns. 

   The other day, we got our first snow of 6 inches. Up to this point in the fawn’s life they have no experience with this stuff that covered up all the food in the fields. One fawn would walk around to find a single blade of grass sticking through the snow and try to bite it off. Mom eventually came along side, put her face deep in the snow and like a shovel pushed the snow back revealing the clover beneath. I watched this same lesson repeated many times and the fawn would always want to take over mom’s snow-free patch.  At one point the little one got a light bop on the head from mom’s hoof as if to say “you need to learn how to do this.”  The fawn ran to the edge of the field to eat goldenrod, at least that was not covered with snow.

   As I left for home at dusk, I could see the shadow of the fawn resuming the lesson with mom down the field. The next evening showed the fawn had nearly mastered the technique of moving snow with both its nose and its hoof.

   I have watched deer for many years and there is an undeniable bond of love between the doe and her fawns. For over a year she will teach them all they need to live and survive life in the wild. Tonight, two little saucer-eyed twin doe fawns walked within eight feet of my ground blind and into the field. These two had big floppy eye lashes and no doubt were two of the cutest fawns I have ever seen. Mom had stopped behind my blind; she was down wind and even though I was using a cover scent she sensed something was not good. She coaxed her little ones with gentle grunts to come back to her, exposing herself to danger until they did, then she promptly escorted them away from the potential danger. 

   Some of us have experienced this devoted type of love from our parents while growing up, some of us did not.  I did not. My parents were so busy trying to earn money to provide a better life for us they did not have much time to spend with us kids and we were left on our own too many times. My parents are gone and I am grateful that we were able to establish a good relationship later in life before they passed. 

   I truly have to look somewhere else to find the unrelenting, committed and self-sacrificing love I observe in nature. I have been contemplating this for some time and I have come to this conclusion. I am very fortunate to have a loving wife, committed and self-sacrificing. I believe we share that with each other. There is a deeper level of love that is revealed as life moves on. The love of my heavenly Father. 

  Twenty-eight years ago, I called out to God by default. I had been practicing idolatry for many years and my life hit that place people familiar with recovery groups would call “the bottom.”  There is no lower place you can go. I didn’t repent or say some perfect prayer as I lay face down on the floor, alone and abandoned. All I could do was groan and mumble out “God help me.” When I called, He answered me, (Psalm 138:3).  He took me by the hand and lifted me up from the pit I had dug for myself. Over the next 12 years, God would lead me on a journey to follow Him and live in His promises. I didn’t do something to prove myself worthy of Him, He proved Himself and His love for me. Did you know that while we were still sinning God proved His love for us by sending His Son to die for our sins? (Romans 5:8).  Amazing love!

   He continues to prove Himself to me. Not one of His promises have ever failed. (Joshua 23:14).  I have learned that He knows me, everything about me. He knows all of my past; He knows all of my thoughts and everything I do. He knows where I go, what I do and before a word is on my tongue, He knows it. And He still loves me. There is no where I can go to be away from His presence. His hand will always guide me and hold me fast. He knew me when I was still in my mother’s womb, He knew all of my days before one came to be and yes, He still loves me!

  I didn’t do some thing to earn God’s love. I needed, like the fawns with their mothers, to hear His voice and follow Him and learn from Him how to navigate this world. I am still on that journey. 

   Perfection is not found except in heaven. All have sinned and fall short. We will always need a Savior and in that realization, I begin to understand the unbelievable depth of love God has for me and for all of us. In spite of our imperfections and failures, He loves us and continues to call us to follow Him. Paul’s prayer at Ephesians 3 asks for believers to have the power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  The only way we can be filled with the fulness of God is to understand the amazing dimensions of Jesus’ love.

   The fullness of God is not revealed in His wrath but in His love. In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul gives us a place to start in the journey of comprehending the love of Jesus Christ and thereby begin to comprehend the love of God. Pray that God gives us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know Him better. (1:17).  Solomon asked for wisdom and God granted his request.  He will honor our request for wisdom and revelation to know Him better. Jesus, in His prayer for us, (John 17:20-26), asks that through us, believers, the world would come to know that God sent Jesus into the world and that He loves us as He loves Jesus. Jesus ends His prayer, “I have made You (God) known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

   The love of the Creator of the universe is yours and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are anxious to reveal the width, length, height and depth of that love. Pursue it!

   Some are reading this in prison and thinking “but you do not know what I have done.” Some reading this are thinking, “if it came out what I did or am doing I would be in prison or for sure thrown out of my church.”  Some have altered your body in the search for identity. Some have had an abortion and now struggle with guilt, in secret. The size of your sin doesn’t matter. God loves you just the way you are! Jesus died to pay the price for your and my sins WHILE we were still sinning. Perhaps you don’t know but most of the super heroes of faith thoughout history, including Biblical history, were bottom rung people. Murderers, prostitutes, rough neck fisherman, plain simple people without public notoriety and very few religious people with Bible training. Religious people demonstrate their lack of knowing God’s love by pointing fingers at the unlovable, demand works of some kind and add to their already existing feelings of being unlovable. They are wrong! God loves you with a love that will take a lifetime of study to comprehend. But all you need do is start. Call out to Him. “God, I believe You sent Jesus to die in my place for my sins, forgive me and help me to know Your great love for me.”  Hang on, and like the little fawn, stay at God your Father’s side as he leads you, through Jesus and His Holy Spirit to follow, to know Him and experience His love.

   Some of us “seasoned Christians” need to drop our wrathful iron fist and religiosity, repent of our pride and humble ourselves before Almighty God, realizing that there is nothing you or I can do that makes us presentable before God. Only the love of God through Jesus can make us presentable. We need to guard against becoming like the pharisee who thanked God he was not like robbers, evildoers, adulterers and tax collectors and then bragged about his good works. He was confident in his own righteousness. Meanwhhile, the tax collector that stood at a distance, ashamed of his sins and crying out to God to be merciful was commended by Jesus as the one justified before God. (Luke 17:9-14). 

   I once was sitting with a group of outdoor enthusiasts when a man bragged that he had never broke a single DNR law. I shook my head, knowing my long-term friend and game warden was seated at the same table and he wouldn’t let this object lesson pass. It only took two questions and less than 15 seconds for the man to have to admit that he, too, had broken several laws. His admission was shared by all at the table but his came at the humbling experience of being exposed publicly. We all break the law of God too, no matter how long we have been a Christ follower. We all need to discover this awesome love of God that motivates Him to love us even while we still sin.

   “Yah-but,” (my wife tells me they hop in the woods), I can hear some of my colleges say. God’s wrath is real and you have to repent. Ultimately God’s wrath is real for those who chose to reject His love. God always uses His love for mankind and His wonderful promises to call people to Himself and so should we as His witnesses. God does not threaten, manipulate or control people into relationship with Himself, those are human character defects, which frankly need to be repented of. 

   I gave a definition of repentance back in a July issue of WCN.  A reader told me it’s worth repeating. “If nothing changes then nothing changes.” Transformation is akin to repentance. Repentance is more than a change of our past behavior that was sinful, it also requires a change of mind. At Acts 26:20, Paul told King Agrippa that “...I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”  The Greek word for our English word “repent” in this verse is written in the present infinitive case, which grammatically means, “to do it now and don’t stop doing it ever.” The definition of the Greek word is “to undergo a change in frame of mind and feeling; to make a change of principle and practice, it also includes a change of mode of thought and feeling.” Therefore, repentance needs to show up in our behavior, our deeds, and that will only happen as we change the way we think to how God’s Word instructs us and then we live it out in principle and practice every day and don’t stop, ever.

  So, we are back to the example of the little fawn. God lovingly calls — to us all — to come back to Him. If we choose to hear His voice and run to Him, He will lovingly teach us His ways and repentance will gradually show up in our behavior as we incorporate His teaching into our way of life. Run to Him! There is no greater love to be found.

Lynn Fredrick is the author of Stand Firm. A short book on using the divine power of God to transform your life. 
 W8756 Townline Road
Ladysmith, WI  54848

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